Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Senior Reporter
PROVINCES have stepped up preparations for the 37th Independence Day celebrations to be held on Tuesday next week, with calls for the public to turn out in numbers for the event.
Senior Government officials on Friday told the Sunday News that the preparations were progressing well. Some provinces will, however, not hold the traditional Minister’s Ball this year as part of fundraising for the celebrations.
Bulawayo provincial administrator Mrs Khonzani Ncube said the province would this year hold memorable Uhuru celebrations.
Mrs Ncube said the Minister’s Ball would be held at the Large City Hall on the eve of the Independence Day.
“Our ball will be held on 17 April to raise funds for charity. We are calling on people to support by buying tickets,” she said.
The main celebrations for the province will be held at the traditional venue, White City Stadium.
“A lot has been lined up for the main event. Fundraising is in motion and a lot of food and entertainment is ready for members of the public. Efforts are in motion to raise funds to purchase food, fuel and pay for entertainment among other expenses,” said Mrs Ncube.
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Cain Mathema said the province would not hold the Minister’s Ball.
He said a number of fundraising activities were already in place with a number of companies and individuals having pledged to support the event.
“We are not going to have a fundraising dinner. What we have done is that we have engaged all the stakeholders and asked for donations. Individuals and companies have pledged support. Some stakeholders have already come forward with donations.
Those willing to donate for the celebration can contact the district administrator,” he said.
Cde Mathema called on people from the province to come in their numbers to mark the special day on the country’s calendar.
“We have lined up a lot of entertainment activities and people should come out in their numbers to celebrate their freedom.
“There will be lots of food, game meat and drinks. People should come in their numbers to celebrate,” he said.
The province will hold its celebrations at Somhlolo Stadium in Lupane.
In Matabeleland South Province the celebrations will be held at Phelandaba Stadium in Gwanda. Principal administrative officer in the province, Ms Sikhangezile Mafu said preparations were in full swing with the Minister’s Ball set for Gwanda district club on the eve of the main celebrations. Ms Mafu said the province would take up from where it left when it hosted the 21st February Movement celebrations earlier this year.
“Preparations are underway. Actually we are continuing from where we left after the 21st February celebrations. So far so good for all the districts as everything is now set. The only challenge that we have is fuel, but we have since solicited for donations from our traditional donors. We are confident that by the time we get to the celebrations we would have secured adequate fuel,” said Ms Mafu.
Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Jason Machaya said the provincial organising committee would meet on Tuesday this week to finalise on the preparations. He said Tuesday’s meeting would also decide whether the province would hold the Minister’s Ball. Last year the province did not host the traditional fundraising ball citing lack of resources.
“Everything is progressing well at district and provincial levels. We will have a meeting on Tuesday to update each other on what has been covered so far as well as finalise on the preparations,” he said.
“We are still open to the idea of a dinner on the eve of the main celebrations. Seeing that there are signs of improvement in the economy as we look forward to a bumper harvest, we may as well host the dinner,” said Cde Machaya.
The Midlands provincial independence celebrations will be held at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru, while the other seven districts will host district commemorations.
“People should come in their numbers. We’ve had a good season and that is reason enough for people to celebrate. Everyone is welcome, across the political divide,” said Cde Machaya.
In Masvingo, the provincial celebrations will be held at Mucheke stadium and Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Masvingo Cde Shuvai Mahofa said preparations were at an advanced stage and the province was looking forward to a successful event.
“All committees are working as I speak and our preparations are now quite advanced. We have covered almost 80 percent in terms of preparations.
“We are looking forward to a successful event and we are calling on people to come in their numbers,” she said.
The national Independence celebrations will be held in Harare. Zimbabwe celebrates 37 years after attaining independence on 18 April in 1980.